Album: The Seeds
. . .
The Seeds came from the same mid-60s Los Angeles scene that also produced The Byrds, Love, The Doors and Buffalo Springfield. However, unlike Roger McGuinn, Arthur Lee, Jim Morrison and Stephen Stills/Neil Young, the principal songwriter and lead singer of the Seeds — the awesomely named Sky Saxon — didn’t have any major artistic pretensions.
But like all of the above, The Seeds kicked out some absolutely fantastic singles, the best of which was their 1965 garage-raver, “Pushin’ Too Hard,” which comes roaring out of the gate driven by Rick Andridge’s double-time drums, Jan Savage’s guitar and Darryl Hooper’s keyboards. Over all of this forward momentum, Saxon is snarling at some poor girl.
You’re pushin’ too hard, uh-pushin’ on me
You’re pushin’ too hard, uh-what you want me to be
You’re pushin’ too hard about the things you say
You’re pushin’ too hard every night and day
You’re pushin’ too hard
Pushin’ too hard on meeeeeee
“Pushin’ Too Hard” is a song that doesn’t really have a chorus — four verses of Saxon complaining too much about wanting to be free, that she’s running around, and that there are plenty of fish in the sea — but it has a massive hook at the end of each verse where the rest of the band sings “tooooooo harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd” with the manliest vocals possible.
Also, after the second verse, “Pushin’ Too Hard” has one of those somewhat extened instrumental sections that a lot of mid-60s garage singles had: first, after a couple of bars of forward motion by the whole band, Hooper’s electronic piano pops to the forefront of the mix, and plays some notes before falling into what sounds a lot like the “You Really Got Me” riff, after which Savage gets into the action, flashing a narsty fuzzed out guitar solo that leads directly back to the final two verses and Saxon chanting “pushin’ too hard” at the fade, having lost zero momentum.
“Pushin’ Too Hard” was originally released as The Seeds second single (after “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”) in 1965, and went nowhere. It was re-released in late 1966 (around the same time as their second album, A Web of Sound), and wasn’t as big of a hit as you might have expected, stalling out at #36 on the pop charts in early 1967.
But, of course, it’s had a great afterlife, probably because Lenny Kaye included it on 1972’s Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968 where it was a standout, even in that august company. Since then, it’s regularly cited as a touchstone for both punk and garage rock, and has been covered countless times.
Oh, and check out the clip below of the Seeds appearance on a mid-60s sitcom called The Mothers in Law. As always, it’s gotta strong “those weird, wacky youths” vibe, which Sky Saxon plays right into.
“Pushin’ Too Hard”
“Pushin’ Too Hard” lipsynched on American TV, 1966
“Pushin’ Too Hard” on an episode of The Mothers in Law, 1967
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